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Is It Bipolar Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder?

10/22/19. Dr. Dimitriu was published in Psychology on the topic of bipolar vs borderline personality disorder.

Diagnosing psychiatric illness isn’t easy. There’s usually no lab test, physical indication, or quantitative measurement that can distinguish one illness from another and often no magic bullet that can ensure effective treatment. Clinicians are dependent on a description of symptoms and patterns over time to make a diagnosis and these often appear similar even when the underlying illness is very different.

One example of this difficulty is in the incidence of borderline personality disorder being misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder. Both are characterized by impulsive behavior, mood swings, and suicidal thinking but have different causes and different treatments. Only an experienced medical professional can make the right diagnosis and determine appropriate treatment, but patients and their families can help by paying attention to their own thoughts and feelings and describing them accurately.

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